Art Basel Artists: Artists 4 Israel

Artists 4 Israel To Paint Mural For Art Basel 

Artist, Belin. Bombshelter in Dolev, Israel on school campus for at risk girls

We had the pleasure of interviewing Craig Dershowitz, Executive Director and one of the founders of Artists 4 Israel.  The collective will be in town for Art Basel 2012 and you can catch them at Overture, LMNT, and painting a mural on one of our walls on 29th St. just east of N Miami Ave.

How did this collective come together?  
I see some legendary artists on the list.

Artists 4 Israel began in 2009, during Operation Cast Lead when Israel was defending itself against on-going rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel’s southern communities. 40 of New York’s top graffiti artists submitted pro-Israel works. The list of artists included such legends as TRACY168 (RIP) and TAKI183. Since then, it has grown tremendously. The truth is that many artists, once they understand how Israel protects the arts, decide they want to protect Israel. A4I has brought some more legends to Israel with us to see it for themselves. Shout outs to NICER from the TATS CRU, SEVER and EWOK from MSK, CYCLE from TC5 and SKI and 2ESAE, the UR Collective. They help spread the word even further!

Would you highlight some of the work Artists 4 Israel has done?

Artists 4 Israel works across all mediums of art. We have sold out Off-Broadway theater shows as well had some of our photographer’s work displayed in South Africa, London and throughout the states. Our Bomb Shelter Museum, a replica of the type of shelters you see in Southern Israel has garnered a lot of attention and our (S)kin Life Drawing class with nude models is controversial but very fun. From a graffiti and street art perspective, Artists 4 Israel is truly in its strongest place. We have painted 50 bomb shelters in Sderot and have inspired so many more artists to go and do the same thing. BELIN OGT, who I personally think is the greatest living graffiti artist, has painted on the Security Fence. There is so much more – too much to explain in one article.

When do you guys start painting the wall for Art Basel?

A4I will be in Miami starting on December 1st. BELIN OGT will be painting from the very beginning. Everyone is encouraged to come and watch.

Artist, Belin. On canvas (Work In Progress)

What do you plan on painting thematically? 

The theme for everything Artists 4 Israel does is Heroes in Distress. There are many interpretations to this theme and each artist is putting their own unique, creative twist on it. Some are looking at the Israeli soldier, a young man or woman who are put in a world of violence where they are forced to defend their home, family and themselves but most do so in a way that is, sometimes, also violent and is painful, but necessary. Others are looking at writers and performers – Heroes of creativity – who are being threatened by radical Muslims. Our heart goes out to Salman Rushdie and others like him. Yet another interpretation is the human faults of world leaders – from PM Netanyahu to (current) President Obama who must make daily decisions that never will be agreeable to all people.

Any other plans or shows for Art Basel?

Artists 4 Israel will also be showing at Overture, part of the SCOPE art show as well as at LMNT. At both events, we will be having a booth showing art pieces for sale that center around our theme.

Have you been to Art Basel before and or Wynwood?
Thoughts on the area?

Unfortunately, I have not personally been there although our artists have shown up, unofficially of course, each year. Basel is such a remarkable scene and Miami an important venue that we had to get involved.

Any additional comments or info you’d like us to know?

We are honored to be working with Lombardi Properties. They have great taste in the Arts and even greater taste in advocacy organizations!

Belin, mural on Israeli West Bank barrier/Security Fence